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Adoption/lost Y-DNA line

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  • Adoption/lost Y-DNA line

    Below is an email I sent to a member of the Family Tree DNA "Murphy" surname group. I would appreciate any thoughts y'all might have concerning my many exact matches with the Murphy surname.


    According to the Wales census my great grandmother, Alice Emery, was living on Crecent St, in Llanllwchaiarn, Montgomeryshire, Wales with her parents, Charles (father) and Ann Stephenson Emery (stepmother) in 1881. Charles and Ann were born in Staffordshire, England. Alice, and her sister, Mary Ann, were born in Nantwich, Cheshire, England.

    It appears that Alice Emery, age 19, arrived in New York 30 Dec 1885 on the ship "Spain" and that Charles and Ann Emery, ages given as 50, arrived in New York 12 Jul 1886 on the ship "Germanic". Mary Ann, according to the US census, was living in North Adams, Massachusetts, and married to Arthur Davis (from Wales) at the time. A man whose father, ironically (?) , was named "Richard Davis".

    I guess my first mystery is where was my grandfather, Richard Charles Emery was conceived? It could have been in Wales, on the ship, or in the US. I do know he was born in North Adams, Massachusetts on August 21, 1886. His initial birth certificate showed "Richard Davis" as his father, but no name for the child. The birth certificate was later changed to blank for the father's name, and Richard Emery" as the child's name.

    Worth noting is the fact that Alice's parents arrived in the US in July, 1886 ... before Richard Charles Emery was born. My best guess is they knew of the impending arrival of their first grandchild, and wanted to be a part of his life. This leads me to believe that he was conceived in Wales, and his mom was sent away, "in shame," as was the custom of the time.

    Is it worth noting that Alice Emery's next door neighbor in 1881 was named Agnes 'Davies', and variant of Davis.

    So .. there you have it. No Murphy's to be found, except the many (exact) matches in my Y-DNA.

    The only conclusion I can draw is:

    1) The matches are significant, or ...

    2) Murphy's are exponentially more likely to participate in Y-DNA studies than all other surnames.

    I appreciate any advice you may offer.

    Tom Emery

  • #2
    The first thing we need to know is what level of exact match you're talking about. Is the exact match with Murphys at 12, 25 or 37 markers?

    If you're talking about an exact match at only 12 markers, there's a very good chance that the match is not significant and would fall away at 37 markers. Accurate judgements about the significance of exact or close matches can only be made by comparing 37 or 67 markers.

    Another important question is what the haplogroup. If the haplogroup is R1b, then a 12 marker exact match becomes even more suspect, since R1b is such a common haplogroup and in many cases unrelated men can match exactly at 12 markers.

    So, how many markers are you talking about and what is the haplogroup?


    • #3
      Didn't those ship voyages take 6 weeks to two months? My idea is that the father of Alice's son was another passenger on the 'Spain' or a crew member with the Murphy surname (or may not have the Murphy surname/had a different name but had the Murphy ydna). Did the ship make a stop in Ireland? Did they have crew from Ireland?
      Either that or she got pregnant in the US on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.
      Last edited by rainbow; 4 April 2010, 11:04 AM.


      • #4
        And yes, you have to of course have to first have the 67 marker comparision (and match in the 60s) and have the same ydna haplogroup/deep clade.


        • #5

          Happy Easter.
          Last edited by darroll; 4 April 2010, 12:53 PM.


          • #6
            I used to know a Murphy, from Brooklyn, New York (Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs of New York City. The official name for Brooklyn is Kings County.). Maybe your Murphy ydna line is from the same family and they still live in NY? The Murphy's I knew identified as Irish but also had some Native American and German ancestry.
            Last edited by rainbow; 4 April 2010, 01:51 PM.


            • #7
              An Idea

              My Last name is Hill but I matched up with 3 Lee's at Ancestry 42/46 43/46 and 44/46. The next thing I wanted to do is to see if one of them or all of them would test at FTDNA so we could find out if we are all Haplogroup R1, and up grade to 67 markers or test to 67 markers and have the Deep Clade test to see if we are truly a match.

              But there was one problem and that was getting a reply from my matches. One I tried for I think 2 years and got no reply. Their DNA home page had a message about them being sick so I figured they must have died. The one in Wales I matched up to also didn't reply and when I got a third match it took over two months of trying to get a reply and only did that by contacting the Lee Group Administrator. This one was my closest match and I wanted to offer to sponsor them and see if they would test at FTDNA. But back to getting no replies.

              So time for plan C or something like that. I started to look for Lee's who live around the same location as my GGF and presumed mother family. I found one who seem to have a connection to most of the Lee's in the northern half of the state and started to research that family.

              Than I got a Idea to look up WW I draft cards to see if any of them had Black Hair and most of them did. So Black Hair which to me doesn't seem to be that common in white folks. Location of the families in my GGF state. Finding out that the family had lived in the same state where two of my matches had dead ended before moving to my GGF state. Finding out that one of my matches lines had been traced back to a county that was within one or two counties from the county I trace the family I was interested in too. Along with the time period being right on the mark. And the family being traced back to the same place in England as my Wales match had traced his line before he hit his road block.

              So the next step was to locate someone in this Family and try to get them to test. I located one that wanted to test and I placed the order last month. The next step if we match is to see if they will up grade and do the DEEP Clade Test to see how close we match. I hope this is helpful and gives you some ideas. Good Luck

              You know if I'm right this will mean I Found the needle in the hay stack. LOL!
              Last edited by EdwardRHill; 4 April 2010, 02:42 PM.


              • #8
                >> Below is an email I sent to a member of the Family Tree DNA "Murphy" surname group.
                >> I guess my first mystery is where was my grandfather, Richard Charles Emery was conceived?

                Here are some comments/thoughts/questions:

                1. The name of your GF is Richard Charles Emery, but while you don't know for sure the name of your GGF, did the birth certificate list for sure that Alice Emery was your GGM? I presume so, but you don't mention this...

                2. You never wrote anywhere if your GGM ever got married and with whom. I gather she did not? Meaning you have no clue who your real GGF was. Please correct if I got that wrong

                3. Whos' the person who made the birth registration of your GF?, maybe it was his uncle named Richard Davies and they got the names mixed up at the registry (known to happen)

                4. Your GF was born 8/21/'86 - I see what you are getting at when it comes to conceivement, but if he was conceived before Alice departure, in Wales, she would almost certainly not have known that she was actually pregnant before she arrived. In any case she would have bought the ticket before such an event. I don't think your theory of "being sent away" holds.... (?) But I agree on Wales.

                5. If you have/order the ORIGINAL ships manifest of her arrival you can probably see if she [Alice] was traveling with someone, did you check? I guess she wasn't.

                6. Arrival of parents... here it gets tricky. I have checked and never found arrivals in July 1886 for the Germanic. But I did find a Charles Emery arriving 18.may.1885 with the Gallia from Liverpool, age 48, travelling (almost certainly) with one Mable Emery, age 16. So maybe your theory of "and wanted to be a part of his life" is completely off. That's what I think, at least. Why did you not mention this arrival? As I said, I could not find the 1886 arrival - can you tell what are your sources?

                7. Why did you write "adoption" in the title of your post?

                8. YDNA checks ... I have no idea why you are after Murphy as it seems the paper trail still has a few things to be answered for. As others mentioned, exact is only relevant if it is >> 12 markers, like 37/37 or better. Theoretically it is possible that the missing GGF was very closely linked to someone who has their YDNA tested and could magically pop up as a link but it would have to be a VERY close match, like 36/37 or - preferably - better. Obviously the persons at hand also need to have the same (exact) Haplogroup.

                9. paper trail - have you exhausted your 2nd/3rd/4th cousins, in terms of paper trail, family stories, historic documents, etc. My (G)Gparents emigrated in the same period (10 years later) and together with my 6th cousin (which took some time to trace!) we were able to put together many pieces of the puzzle of what made them leave etc etc.

                Maybe there are a few things you can further clarify
                - how good are the matches
                - what's the source of the 1886 ships records
                - what about the 1885 arrival
                - was alice ever married


                • #9
                  ^I think he meant to say that his grandfather was
                  adopted by Alice's sister Mary Ann. ?

                  I never heard of before. I looked for the ship manifest records at the NYC library many years ago (huge microfilm machines) but never found records on my paternal Great Grandparents.... because I was given the wrong info on the timespan. Later on, after moving out of NY, I mail ordered a search to Washington, DC and got a copy of my Great Grandfather's naturalization papers, which had tons of info, including the name of the ship and when he arrived in NY. From that I was able to get a copy of the ship's manifest that listed him. What is odd is that Washington DC has no ship manifest record of my Great Grandmother. Ellis Island has a website that has ship records online and THEY have my Great Grandmother but NOT my Great Grandfather. Both places should have both records but don't. So maybe Emery didn't know about the Liverpool Emery's or he isn't related to them.


                  • #10
                    Conception Calculator

                    A "Google" search for conception calculators reveals that based on the given birthdate of 21 Aug 1886, the likely conception date was between November 24 to December 2 the prior year. First children are less likely to be early and more likely to be late, but with babies, anything is possible. I also was unable to quickly locate the record for Charles' arrival in 1886. I did see the earlier record for a Charles Emery but it did not match the other information given since he was not accompanied by a wife with proper name. I did notice that an Ennes Davis was on pg 3 of the same manifest as your ancestor (name was possibly mistranscribed since it was on the top edge of the second half of page 3, on the binding, and difficult to read). Your ancestor was on Pg 2, and the entire manifest was only 4 pages, so it may be significant to the Agnes Davis/Davies info you had.


                    • #11
                      Ship Info for the Spain

                      Further info on the ship "Spain" and travel time from

                      Ship Name: Spain
                      Years in service: 1871-1896
                      Funnels: 2
                      Masts: 4
                      Shipping Line: National
                      Ship Description: Built by Laird Bros., Ltd., Birkenhead, England. Tonnage: 4,512. Dimensions: 426' x 43'. Single-screw, 13 1/2 knots. Compound engines. Four masts and two funnels. Iron hull.

                      History: Passengers: 120 first and 1,400 third. Maiden voyage: Liverpool-New York, August 16, 1871. Tonnage later increased to 5,089. Considered a fast liner for her time. Made a Cobh-New York crossing in 8 days, 13 hours, at an average speed of 13.6 knots. Made her final voyage from London to New York in November 1895. Scrapped in France, 1896. Sister ship: Egypt (not identical).

                      Also, a correction, the Davis on page 3 was transcribed as Enna Davis and listed from Germany, so may not have been related.


                      • #12
                        Doctors calculate conception from the day of the last period (menstrual cycle). That adds on weeks. Her last period could have been early December. Actual moment of conception (sex) was likely late December or early January.
                        Last edited by rainbow; 4 April 2010, 11:22 PM.


                        • #13
                          >> I think he meant to say that his grandfather was
                          adopted by Alice's sister Mary Ann. ?

                          Although technically possible - or maybe just even taken care off - then it's even more a case for the paper trail, especially if ann had children of her own too.

                          >> I never heard of before.

                          It's on the FAQ for Ellis Island. Immigration via EI started only in 1892, before that it was via Castel Garden

                          >> So maybe Emery didn't know about the Liverpool Emery's

                          Liverpool was just the place of boarding the vessel - it can a zillion miles from wherever someone was living. I just named it in case there was an Emery who boarded in say Rotterdam, which would almost certainly be different.

                          >> Actual moment of conception (sex) was likely late December or early January

                          I am not a woman, neither have kids, but tells me I need to count 40 weeks back if birth was on-time conception was, as cudesinew wrote, 11/24-12/2, which is around 4 weeks before arrival in NY. As Cudesinew already wrote the crossing took just over a week so that puts conception well back in Wales :-)


                          • #14
                            To elaborate further on Rainbow's post. 14-15 days from the first day of the last menstrual period is when ovulation and conception will normally occur.

                            -Darren Marin
                            Family Tree DNA


                            • #15
                              R1b1b2ab15 (R-L21)

                              I changed my "match preference" to 37 markers, and all of the "37 Marker - Genetic Distance - 2" are Murphy's, same for - 3, -4, etc. At "67 Marker - Genetic Distance - 2" the results are the same.

                              My haplogroup is R1b1b2ab15 (R-L21).

                              Does this help?

                              One additional note: I just found my great grandfather's wwII draft card. He lists a Roger Davies as his closest contact. I am not sure if that is worth noting.